Huo Yuanjia (1868-1909), born in Tianjin, Huo became one of the most famous martial art heroes in modern Chinese History. Due to the oppressive state of China during the turn of the century, by foreign occupation and the failing Ching Dynasty, Huo, like many patriots was motivated to keep the honor of his people alive. His father was a bodyguard for caravans traveling to the northeast, Huo trained diligently on his family martial art skills.
In 1901, one of his students showed him a leaflet. It carried an advertisement about a Russian boxer, who proclaimed himself as “Matchless in China”, and again in Shanghai with a British boxer, both protesting their greatness, but when Huo met their challenge neither bothered to show. This enraged Huo, who erected his own platform in a Shanghai park, open to anyone who thought the Chinese were weaklings. This set the stage for a string of contestants, who were easily beaten. On one occasion a team of Japanese took on the famous teacher, after losing to both his student and the master, the Japanese delegation gave a party in honor of the teacher. However, this was just a ploy in which to seek revenge. It was reported that in the medicine he took for a fever, there was actually poison. Huo died several days after on Sept. 14, 1909.
During his life, Huo established the famous Ching Mo School in Shanghai. Inspired by the conviction of their late teacher, many of his students opened branches all over China.
One of his top disciples, Jew Lin Waar, was left in charge of the Shanghai branch. It was here that Master Poon Mao Yung graduated with top honors.
Hwang Fei Hung was a martial artist, a traditional Chinese medicine physician, acupuncturist and revolutionary who became a Chinese folk hero and the subject of numerous television series and films. He was considered an expert in the Hung Gar style of Chinese martial arts. Wong Fei Hung is visibly the most famous Hung Gar practitioner of modern times. As such, his branch/lineage has received the most attention and as such recorded in various documents.
As a physician, Wong practiced and taught acupuncture and other forms of traditional Chinese medicine at Po-Chi-Lam, his private practice medical clinic in Foshan, Guangdong province, China. A museum dedicated to him was built in Foshan. Wong’s most famous disciples included Lam Sai-wing, Leung Foon, Tang Fung and Ling Wan Gai. Wong was also associated with Beggar So.
Wong Kei Ying had learned his martial arts from Luk Ah Choi, a classmate of Hung Hei Gun who was the founder of the Hung Gar style of Chinese martial arts. At the age of five, Wong Kei Ying started teaching Wong Fei Hung the knowledge that was handed down to him: Single Hard Fist, Double Hard Fist, Taming the Tiger Fist Mother & Son Butterfly Knives, Angry Tiger Fist, Fifth Brother Eight Trigram Pole, Flying Hook, and Black Tiger Fist.
Wong was adept at using weapons such as the staff and southern tiger fork. One tale recounts how Wong defeated a group of 30 gangsters on the docks of Guangdong using the staff.
“With nothing but his hands, feet and a lot of attitude, he turned the little guy into a tough guy.” — Time In 1959 a short, skinny, bespectacled 18-year-old kid from Hong Kong traveled to America and declared himself to be John Wayne, James Dean, Charles Atlas and the guy who kicked your butt in junior high. In an America where the Chinese were still stereotyped as meek house servants and railroad workers, Bruce Lee was all steely sinew, threatening stare and cocky, pointed finger–a Clark Kent who didn’t need to change outfits. He was the redeemer, not only for the Chinese but for all the geeks and dorks and pimpled teenage masses that washed up at the theaters to see his action movies. He was David, with spin-kicks and flying leaps more captivating than any slingshot.
As an exceptional martial artist, Lee’s ability to synthesize various national martial techniques sparked a new trend in unarmed combat martial arts films. His talent shifted the focus from martial arts director to martial arts actor.
Since 1973, the year Bruce Lee died and his famous motion picture Enter the Dragon was released, movies have been the single most influential factor behind the growing popularity of martial arts. Lee’s cinematic success spawned a global industry of the martial arts, and schools opened and flourished worldwide. During the 1970s more students took up the study of martial arts than at any time before or since. To those involved in martial arts, the years from 1972 to 1975—the height of Lee’s popularity—are often cited as the Bruce Lee era.